When Jenna Bike was tripped in the box in the 33rd minute of Boston College women’s soccer’s Saturday night match against Miami, and Sam Coffey stepped up and coolly slotted a penalty kick into the left corner of the net, it appeared everything was going to plan for the Eagles. Now with the lead, they could focus on controlling the game in the midfield and riding a rock-solid back line to victory, as they have done so excellently this entire season.
It worked, up until the 70th minute, when a fantastic piece of skill from Miami’s Mallory Olson tied the game. From there, the Hurricanes hung on for dear life, thwarting the Eagles for the next 10 minutes and two overtime periods, thanks in part to a fantastic performance from goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce, who recorded eight saves. Despite constant pressure and a bevy of chances, BC left Coral Gables, Fla. with a 1-1 draw, a result that will likely frustrate head coach Alison Foley, given the amount of opportunities the Eagles had to win the game.
The game began physically, as both teams failed to record a shot for the first 20 minutes while fighting for control of the midfield. In the early going, the Eagles committed four fouls to Miami’s one. When the chances did come, it was the Hurricanes who had the first good look of the day, as Michelle Giamportone’s header forced Alexis Bryant to make her first save of the day.
On the other end, a trademark BC corner kick saw Coffey’s service find the head of Kayla Duran, but the freshman pushed her shot just over the bar. Seven minutes later, Bike broke free on the right side of the box and created space for a shot, but her fierce drive was saved by Tullis-Joyce. That would prove to be a sign of things to come, as the next time Bike was able to make a run into space in the box she was tripped for the foul that led to Coffey’s goal.
The Eagles looked to build on the penalty strike and were close to logging a second goal just five minutes later. Again Bike was the creator, as her shot hit the crossbar, leaving BC just inches away from doubling its lead. Nevertheless, the Eagles entered the break with a one-goal advantage after Bryant stopped a Giamportone header just before intermission.
When the second half began, BC continued to pressure the Hurricanes in search of the second goal that would likely seal the match. Kayla Jennings drew a save from Tullis-Joyce, Duran pushed another effort over the bar, and Coffey also cleared the cage with a shot from distance. Three Eagles corner kicks also amounted to nothing, as Miami bided its time waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce on the counter attack.
The Hurricanes came close once after one of Coffey’s corner kicks was cleared. Rachel Sorkenn got a shot off after the ball was cycled quickly up the field, but Bryant was equal to the task and preserved BC’s lead.
But the redshirt senior could do nothing about Miami’s game-tying goal just five minutes later. A long ball was played over the top to Olson, and the freshman masterfully controlled the pass off a bounce with her right foot, sliding the ball past an Eagles defender before using her left foot to curl an unstoppable effort just inside the far post to tie the game at one.
Playing angry, BC was immediately back on the offensive. Jillian Jennings set up Coffey just outside the box, but her left footed shot was bobbled and then smothered by Tullis-Joyce. Just two minutes later, Coffey got another great chance when Bike slid the ball to her inside the box, only for Tullis-Joyce to again scramble the shot away. In the final 10 minutes of play, the Eagles weren’t able to break through on four corner kicks, and another Duran shot was blocked, as the two teams headed to overtime still knotted at one.
When the extra periods began, BC continued to have the majority of the chances. Two more Coffey corner kicks were for naught, and Duran and Bike both watched as their efforts were blocked by scrambling Eagles defenders. On the other end, Gudrun Haralz had the Hurricanes’ best chance of overtime when she was able to get a shot off while falling over in the BC box, but Bryant gathered herself for an easy save. Eventually, however, neither side was able to break through before the final whistle. As far as the Eagles are concerned, it was a tough ending to a game that they had otherwise dominated, outshooting Miami, 18-6, and enjoying an 11-1 advantage on corner kicks.
“We certainly had enough opportunities to win tonight, but credit to their goalkeeper,” Foley told BCEagles.com. “She made some great saves and was very good on corners.”
Certainly, a point on the road isn’t the worst result in the world for the Eagles, but considering that BC still retains a fighting chance at an ACC regular season title, Foley and Co. have to be disappointed that they weren’t able to take advantage of more of their opportunities on Saturday night. With matches against powerhouses North Carolina and Duke looming on the horizon, BC will have to be more clinical from here on out.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor